TV Binge: Mindhunter (Season 1, 2017)

What do you know? Back to back TV Binges this week! To be honest, I have so many TV series that I finished but never have posted from way back in January so I’m making my way sporadically through it as I see the inspiration to write it up. So here we are with the next one as I finish up a book and get a recipe post together!

Netflix series have been rather fun for the most part and since I love Criminal Minds and the behavior analysis thing, we had our eye on Mindhunter for a while so we finally got through it fairly quickly!

Mindhunter (Season 1)

mindhunter

Creator: Joe Penhall

Cast: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Hannah Gross, Anna Torv, Cameron Britton, Joseph Cross

In the late 1970s two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters. – IMDB

Before Criminal Minds hit us with their engaging Behavior Analysis Unit cases, there were these guys here that established the team that opened the path of learning about behavior analysis of the criminal mind. With that said, Mindhunter is one of the most exhilarating, entertaining and impressive shows to be on the Netflix Originals circuit and I’ve been definitely impressed with quite a bit of them. The cast stands out and the way the show is done also works really well. It is very smart to not bombard the show with a myriad of characters and keeping a few main ones so that we can truly see their character development and notice how their relationship, regardless of work or love, does change and grow. While there are cases to solve for this team and it shows up here and there, it never feels like that is the absolute highlight rather than just the way the two FBI agents are approaching each situation that they encounter.

mindhunter

The core characters are the leading FBI agents, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany). Part of the show’s dynamic is in this duo. Being least experienced, Holden tends to be more rash and make less thought out decisions while Bill tends to anticipate how to play more with the FBI guidelines and has his own bag of experience to make it work. It is in these clashes of approaches and the desire to achieve the same end goal that fleshes out their characters so well. Especially when other elements are taken here like Holden’s girlfriend Debbie (Hannah Gross) who doesn’t always have the biggest role but challenges him on some of his thoughts and calls out his crap because she doesn’t stand for particularly the change in personality as the show progresses. And of course, another key link is when they bring in Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) who brings another strong character.

Mindhunter

The best part of the show however do go to the duo’s time chatting up with serial killers as they try to get them to talk about their kills and find a connection in why they do it or a pattern of character traits. Its pretty amazing because as they talk to them, you can see a change in personality also particularly with Holden. The credit does go to Jonathan Groff for delivering on the subtle complexities of this character and his development along with a fantastic script for the show. It can’t be denied that the highlight of the show was the conversations with Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton). The depth and unspoken uneasy vibe with this portrayal was so amazing. An absolute showstopper performance.

There’s a lot to love about Mindhunter. Its well-written for starters. Its thought-provoking and deep with its material it tackles. And they get together a great cast that delivers on these complex characters and gives them a lot of meaning development and arcs. We are definitely waiting for Season 2.

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TV Binge: Nailed It (Season 1, 2018)

Its a beautiful Sunday (or at least I hope it will be since the posts are written in advance…hooray to organization!) I should be baking this weekend since its my husband’s birthday weekend. Fun fact that our birthdays are literally a week apart. Either way, its time for fun stuff so whats more fun than talking about food. Boy..am I on a roll with food related series! Anyways, I didn’t realize Nailed It was so new until I was looking at the release date on Netflix.

Nailed It (Season 1, 2018)

Nailed It

Hosts: Nicole Byer & Jacques Torres

Guest judges: Sylvia Weinstock, Zac Young, Valerie Gordon, Dave Arnold, Yolanda Gampp, Jay Chandrasekhar

Nailed It is a competition show for amateur bakers who are trying hard to learn how to bake but failing hard. How the show works is that there are three bakers every episode. In the first round, they face-off for a themed baked goods usually the same item but different design and the bakers get to choose whichever they want or end up with if they are too slow. Whoever does the best ends up with a prize and get to wear the gold chef’s hat to flaunt that they are the one to beat in the second round. The second round is a one big cake that they need to replicate. As this is an amateur baking competition, they have a Panic button one lifeline to ask for help where one of the judges will go to help them, while the loser of the first round gets a second advantage of one of the buttons that mess with the other two competitors like Nicole Nags, Freezer Burn or Pardon My  French.  The best of this second round wins the competition and ten thousand dollars.

Nailed It

The first season of Nailed It only has 6 episodes so its quick watch. In some ways, its weirdly satisfying to watch amateur bakers at work. I believe that we learn a lot from our failures. So, there’s this weird connection of being a amateur baker that fails at aesthetics of a baked good all the time that I do understand their struggle and from those elements, I learn a little about the little details that make a difference. While this feels more or less as entertaining than say Zumbo’s Just Desserts (review), there is still a lot to be learned in the baking department because the head judges is Jacques Torres who is a pastry chef and a chocolatier, so he offers some nice advice. With that said, the other person joining him is host Nicole Byer who probably is the life of the show because she talks a lot and is somehow rather entertaining for the most part. Aside from them, each episode has a new guest judge, each knowledgeable in their own respects.

Nailed It

Overall, the season for Nailed It was so swift that there isn’t really much to talk about. Its for the crowd that likes having a good laugh at some of the baking failures and shenanigans that can happen to the amateur bakers who attempt some big projects. As entertaining as it all is, it surprising highlights a lot of the basic mistakes that some people don’t quick get when they first start baking and has a decent educational value as well. Plus, most of the guests are pretty knowledgeable and give some decent advice as well as Jacques Torres. Its a fun little show and I wouldn’t mind seeing a Season 2 as a fun little binge session. I definitely has a good few laughs at some of the turnouts. Honestly, that is all I ask for sometimes when I watch a show. Its not like I’m watching a food documentary series which is meant to be serious which I have a few of those TV binges coming up 😉 Plus, I appreciate that Netflix is appealing to its foodie viewers especially since I don’t have cable so I don’t get Food Network unless I travel and have hotel stays.

Have you seen Nailed It yet?

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

And the first of my list of anticipated movies for 2018 was released as a surprise Netflix launch after the Super Bowl. To see what other movies made my 2018 anticipated list, check it out here. We did watch The Cloverfield Paradox that night and it definitely reflects on the backlog that it took this long to share my thoughts on it now. Lets check out the third movie in this Cloverfield universe.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

cloverfield paradox

Director: Julius Onah

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Roger Davies, Donal Logue

Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality. – IMDB

The Cloverfield “franchise” (since there is only two other movies) has taken its viewers for quite a ride. To be honest, they benefited the most from a very strategic surprise and mystery sort of promotional campaign which keeps its audience guessing and the intrigue and anticipation is what drives most of it. I’m a fan of both Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Both had its issues but were entertaining and effective for what it tried to do. Of course, to link the two universes together was where it does fall apart a little. In this third installment of Cloverfield, The Cloverfield Paradox takes us to space with a bunch of astronauts who are trying to achieve a risky experiment that will essentially save Earth’s energy crisis. Just looking at the summary above, it already highlights some of the generic elements that you can expect in The Cloverfield Paradox. During the movie, elements of Event Horizon and Evil Dead will definitely be comparable here. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily as long as its executed well and for the most part, The Cloverfield Paradox is action-packed and suspenseful with hints of humor here and there and visually, its pretty lovely to watch. Is it a ground-breaking or memorable movie experience and lives up to the hype? No, it really isn’t. I watched it about a month ago and honestly, its starting to fade away. It did however make me want to revisit Event Horizon, a movie that has a criticism but I personally love a lot.

the cloverfield paradox

While the story and direction worked okay, despite its familiar territory, the cast here also portrays some very generic qualities of a space crew. There are a lot of familiar faces and to be fair, they all did a great job in their roles, even Ziyi Zhang (who I’m not a huge fan of). Chris O’Dowd provided the humor the story needed along with some of his banter with other characters. There was suspense and mystery surrounding some of them as well which kept it intriguing. There was drama particularly in the main character, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who delivered a nice performance. However, the problem was that the short run time and the pacing of the story gave these characters a lack of depth. We never had enough time with any one of them to make it feel remotely connected to sense a loss when they were in peril. The story itself kept it action-packed and constantly propelling it forward with accidents, deaths, dangerous situations, mystery, suspense and it was all over the place keeping the audience on its toes but somehow where it fell flat was the characters. I did like the international aspect of the characters because it had constant foreign language and some subtitle reading which kept it authentic.

cloverfield paradox

At this point, we have to look at The Cloverfield Paradox and how it fits into the franchise. If we talk about self-contained, well, this franchise is definitely self-contained since the connection sometimes seems like a rather far-fetched idea. It felt the same way with 10 Cloverfield Lane where the final part that somehow supposedly links back to its first movie was where I found it at its weakest. The same applies here, in fact, The Cloverfield Paradox is definitely the weakest link so far. It lacks an original story and lacks powerful characters. In terms of depth and connection, it actually just adds more questions to the whole Cloverfield world. At this point, the Cloverfield franchise is really just an anthology series with movies set in the same universe. Its not necessarily a problem but something more about this universe would be nice. I mean what is this universe afterall? When are these films set? We can assume that Cloverfield is the first film where we see these creatures or aliens invading the world. The world’s fallen apart in 10 Cloverfield Lane and definitely in The Cloverfield Paradox. What is the timeline though? You know, its nice to tease and play the guessing game and they have a strong promotional campaign team but at a certain point, it stops being fun and starts being just frustrating to follow, especially when if The Cloverfield Paradox is the commencement of the downward spiral in its quality.

cloverfield paradox

There are obvious entertaining elements of watching The Cloverfield Paradox. I didn’t hate it but thinking about it more, it felt quite shallow. They had a good cast that delivered good performances, a generic story that was visually done really well but still was very predictable and it had a mix of genre elements of riding between being serious and funny. However, The Cloverfield Paradox could have been any old sci-fi movie if it didn’t have the Earth segments. There are entertaining and tense, suspense-filled elements that work in the thriller world. Its decent for a one shot watch but honestly, it was a disappointment from the expectations after the first two films. I sure hope that if the Cloverfield world continues, it will take some time to try to find a more apparent link in the universe and add a little more substance.

TV Binge: Zumbo’s Just Desserts (Season 1, 2016)

The Super Bowl weekend just ended and this has been in queue to be written for a while so I figured that we’re in Valentine’s marathon time and desserts are a staple here. I’m not sure I’ll get any desserts done as work has been hectic but I’ve been getting lots of baking ideas and techniques I want to learn from watching this reality competitive Australian baking show called Zumbo’s Just Desserts, hosted by Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo. At this point, I put it on in the background a lot just to keep myself motivated so I’ve watched it a few times to say the very least. With that said, you probably already know how I feel about it.

Let’s check it out!

Zumbo’s Just Desserts (Season 1, 2016)

Zumbo's Just Desserts

Judges: Adriano Zumbo, Rachel Khoo

Assistant: Gigi Falanga

A competitive baking show? Count me in! Despite my many unsuccessful scheduling to get back to baking, it is still an immense passion of mine. I honestly don’t know fancy bakers around the world so it was the first time that I even heard about Adriano Zumbo. He is paired up with Rachel Khoo who is seemingly not only as knowledgeable about dessert flavors but also quite charismatic to watch as a team. However, their 12 competitors are the real stars here because they are all different in personality and while most have likeable traits and great aspirations and fantastic talent, they also have somewhat of a villainous competitor here who helps balance out the show and really give it some human drama on who to root for.

Zumbo's Just Desserts

The show breaks down into 12 episodes which sees the contestant with the lowest score be eliminated from the show in each episode. Each episode consists of two rounds. The first is called a Sweet Sensations task which runs along the theme of a day. There were color coordinated fresh fruits, magic, fire, kids birthday cake just to name a few. The two with lowest scores go into the second round head to head to fight for survival in a Zumbo Test. If you didn’t know Adriano Zumbo before, well, his Zumbo Creations are jaw-dropping awesome. Complex but awesome. And this probably will give a great idea of his dessert creator abilities. In the Zumbo Test, the two have to recreate his dessert in the allotted time. The various themes and absolutely Zumbo’s creations are the highlights here. The struggles and the successes make this show really fun to watch. Its always down to the wire and its really exciting to watch because the skills and ideas are really fantastic and watching them being executed is a lot of fun.

Zumbo's Just Desserts

What I did like a lot for the show, even if it felt a little showy and over the top was the location and set design. It had these colorful tones and felt like walking into Willy Wonka factory. Its pretty fascinating and emphasizes on the wonderful world of baking. Well, its wonderful because I love baking. If you put aside the setting, something else I really like is how they introduce each of the plates that the competitors conceptualize in this sketch like below. I think its really neat because you get to see whether the end results actually happens. Let’s face it, the best part of reality TV is that things happen out of their control and its those struggles and how they push through it that make it fun to watch.

Zumbo's Just Desserts

Overall, Zumbo’s Just Desserts is a really great show. Its fun and cool and very exciting to watch. There’s a nice balance in the competitors on their different styles and strengths. Zumbo and Rachel Khoo are a nice team together. The setting emphasizes on the enchanting world they want to have here. Zumbo Creations are just from another world and makes me want to work hard to bake better and learn different techniques (although the hard part is everything I do has to have a somewhat vegan twist). I have a few criticisms of the show but nothing that has stopped me from binging it 3 times already on Netflix. I would have loved to see them actually talk out how they determined the scores though as sometimes their criticism seem to not exactly match the scores they give. I’m honestly just hoping there will be a Season 2 soon.

TV Binge: Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 2, 2017)

Ultimate Beastmaster had their season 2 released on Netflix on December 15th, 2017. You can see our recap of Season 1 HERE.

Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 2, 2017)

ultimate beastmaster

Creators: David Broome & Sylvester Stallone

Our household are big fans of Ultimate Beastmaster. From the structure of the beast to the structure of the challenge in this Netflix’s version of American Ninja Warrior, its a lot of fun to watch. This year’s Ultimate Beastmaster brought on a new slate of competitors. Aside from the USA being there in Season 1, there was China, India, Italy, Spain, France. Being Chinese, I was pretty happy to see China have its contestants and a lot of them were pretty incredible.

Ultimate Beastmaster

With new countries came new hosts and new chemistry. USA being the only overlap country in the two seasons came back with two different hosts. The first season was hyped up because of big names attached with Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson. This time, we had Tiki Barber and Chris DiStefano. It took a little while to get used to them however as they show did go on their jokes, while feeling a little like dad jokes did get a few funny moments. However, the Italian hosts and the French hosts had a really fun feud going on that worked to make it very entertaining to watch. Of course, the Chinese hosts also had a balancing act where the lady Qinyi Du was overly enthusiastic and was pretty much hilarious but was paired with Bin Gu who seemed much more quiet and contemplative. While he didn’t say much, somehow this pairing worked in its own way.

ultimate beastmaster

In many ways, this season’s beastmasters had two brother pairings which worked very well together. It came with a lot of nice and supportive moments. Plus, the competitors chosen here were quite diverse although parkour and mountain climbing athletes definitely had an advantage to the others with both flexibility and working to the obstacles here. It was also nice to see the sportsmanship exhibited here and the enthusiasm. Getting through any of these obstacles was challenging in any of the stages and no matter who you rooted for, it was hard to not feel tense for any of the competitors because the course was tough on them and this took a lot of courage.

ultimate beastmaster

In terms of budget, you can already see some changes in there. For one, the countries all have their own country colors and outfits and gears. On top of that, the course itself had some changes. The first stage starts off differently than season one and to be honest, this one feels much harder because its about jumping far distances which is good because it prepares you for the huge challenge even from the first season which are the energy coils. The point system also had an overhaul and I think its quite fair this way plus the point thrusters are not flip switches but actual buttons which is pretty cool. The first stage also had alternate paths with every other episode and group of competitors, which is new and refreshing. The second stage didn’t quite feel like there was a lot of changes. The third stage however did have bigger changes as they added in what seems like a longer area of sinking coils and transitioning to this Hangman section which is ridiculously hard just to watch because its so challenging to even watch. The final stage also had an overhaul that was pretty awesome and more extensive as well. You need to actually see the Beast to be really impressed with its challenges.

I’m not going to tell you who wins this whole thing because it would be completely in spoiler territory and I think that you should watch it because its a lot of fun. I would also love to see Ultimate Beastmaster go on to have more seasons so hopefully someone dropping by here with Netflix would want to watch it and give it some boost. Of course, there’s also the whole thing that watching this is so positive. I’m not sure about everyone else here but while I’ve fallen off the working out regime and working hard in 2018 to get back into it, this competition is so motivational and positive. But then, I’ve always loved to do treetop obstacle courses and thought before about trying out in Spartan Races and such. Maybe I’ll do it one day. On a finishing note, you know who I’d love to see doing this one just for kicks? Stephen Amell. A bonus celebrity version for charity would be pretty cool as well with TV and movie superheroes or something. Go watch Ultimate Beastmaster! Its totally worth your time.

A Christmas Prince (2017)

We’re moving right along through another TV movie but this time its  a Netflix Originals called A Christmas Prince.

Suffice to say, if you frequent Twitter, you’ve probably heard of Netflix US and their twitter calling out the 50+ people who watched A Christmas Prince everyday for more than 2 weeks. I have my own thoughts on this and I’ll share it at the end of the review.

Moving on, lets see if I would mind watching A Christmas Prince on repeat!

A Christmas Prince (2017)

A Christmas Prince

Director: Alex Zamm

Cast: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, Honor Kneafsey, Emma Louise Saunders, Theo Devaney, Sarah Douglas, Daniel Fathers

When a reporter goes undercover as a tutor to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince, she gets tangled in some royal intrigue and ends up finding love – but will she be able to keep up her lie? – IMDB

A Christmas Prince is Netflix original that does tend to be fun to watch. Netflix hopping into this potential market of TV romantic comedies is a pretty great move. While everyone does acknowledge the sappiness of these movies, there is quite a market for those who enjoy these feel-good movies especially when it involves a somewhat generic plot. If you’ve been reading the last few reviews, I’m all about these movies when they manage to deliver good performances and great chemistry between their leads. A lot of stuff out there is generic and predictable and what sets them apart especially when faced with movies like these who don’t usually have a big budget is being able to connect with the characters. A Christmas Prince does that very well especially when paired with a beautiful setting and having some great performances by its cast to show off some fun characters. There’s some drama and its be to expected but despite all that, this story has hints of so many fun movies and is a little package of homages if you will ranging from a fictional world called Aldovia (Princess Diaries had Genovia) and then a Cinderella-esque story of a poor reporter meeting a prince so just a modernized one without a stepmother but rather a ruthless editor. And then there’s the prince who when getting ready for the throne at the coronation, he dresses like the Cinderella prince as well. Forget how the prince dresses, its a prince, okay? And he looks pretty good also. At a decent run time, the story never lags and keeps the plot moving throughout.

A Christmas Prince

A Christmas Prince is set during the Christmas holidays with the coronation landing on Christmas eve and having that big royal ball. Its in a snow fictitious kingdom called Aldovia which is set in a beautiful castle in Romania in reality which is pretty awesome. With that said the setting itself made the shots incredibly satisfying to watch. Winter fun came into play here like tobogganing and horseback riding in the snow as well as horse drawn carriage rides. Of course, one of the fun bits was the snowball fight. Its set in Christmas and winter and while it shows a lot of these moments, it never really feels like its too in your face which makes it feel natural. One of the things that these TV movies fail to do is give off that effect. The story here is pretty predictable and you’ll probably figure out whats going on before it actually does happen but its never really quite a hindrance because the ornament traditions the fact that the story focuses not only on the romance but also on the truth about the hesitation of the prince taking over the throne and the relationship that our reporter here Amber builds with the princess Emily is really everyone’s way of healing a year after the loss of their father. Sometimes, its the simple idea of someone relating to you and helping and encouraging to find the way to see yourself in a better way which is the case here with Amber who is a positive force even if she comes into their lives via a lie.

Christmas Prince

With that said, there are some pretty decent performances here. Rose McIver is very believable in her role here as, Amber the reporter in disguise as a tutor. There are some moments here that feel like they should have seen through her disguise as a tutor but I think the reason that she sticks around is that they grow fond of her because of her simplicity instead of how the royalty here thinks of everything a little too complex. I liked how natural she felt in her role. Especially as her character connected like a friend/older sister to the princess and romantically with the prince. The princess Emily is played by Honor Kneafsey which was a really good role with her own struggles and always kept Amber on her toes. What started out as a deal turned into something more as their friendship blossomed and they taught each other a little about life. Of course, we have to talk about the Prince Richard played by Ben Lamb who is a charming handsome guy who of course gets painted badly in the spotlight but turns out to be different when Amber learns the real him. Its nice because he gives off the hesitation well but also shows that he can find the courage at the end. Both Rose McIver and Ben Lamb pull off the romance quite well. There are some really cheesy dialogue here and there but never enough to feel too cringey. But then I have pretty high tolerance of it so maybe my word is slightly biased.

Overall, A Christmas Prince is a well-paced romantic comedy that packs a little of drama and comedy and romance. Ben Lamb and Rose McIver have great chemistry together. The setting of the movie is absolutely stunning and the holiday and seasonal integration is done really well using Christmas as a time frame and backdrop and using the snowy landscape for fun winter activities. This is an enjoyable one. It stumbles a little with its dialogue and as expected is predictable but definitely a winner here with a lot of feel-good moments.

Thoughts on Netflix’s tweet

While I think that Netflix thinks it was a joke (and looking at the comments, a lot of people consider that as well), I’m not so concerned about the info they hold about us because its a reality of it since we get the stats of our watching history also so why not them since they control it, but more the fact that movies are an escape, I’m not one of those people since I only watched it like 2 days ago, but I wouldn’t have liked to be judged about my watching preferences. However, I guess that is just one way to look at it. Some articles talk about Netflix using this tweet to brag about how well-received this movie is. The lesson here is that comedy (aka jokes) are incredibly subjective so maybe not sounding like the people watching your films are troubled is a good idea.  Anyways, I’m feeling like I’m taking it more serious than it was actually meant to be. So…Ha, Ha, Ha Netflix…you’re so funny.

That wraps up A Christmas Prince! Not perfect but still a really good time! I wouldn’t mind watching it on repeat.
On that note, a lot of people don’t really enjoy these movies (and I say it every single review that I do this). Predictable and generic, it sure is. But its important to respect that feel-good moments are hard to come by even right now as we get into the Oscar nominated films which are usually quite intense and deep so these TV movies offer a sweet escape as the world around us (by just looking at one page of news) looks so very messed up.

Sorry about missing out yesterday. It was a crazy day! I’ll have a second review going up later today to make up for it! 🙂

TV Binge: The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 1, 2017)

I love watching cooking shows. However, I don’t have actual TV so the only chance is when I visit someone else’s house and it happens to be playing. It does make it a very incomplete experience. Of course, there is the free streaming from one of the national TV channels which holds the episode for a week which is hard to remember sometimes to catch it every once in a while. When The Big Family Cooking Showdown appeared on Netflix, I went right ahead and started watching it. The premise behind it is pretty fun.

Let’s check it out!

The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 1, 2017)

the big family cooking showdownHosts: Zoe Ball & Nadiya Hussain

Judges: Rosemary Shrager & Giorgio Locatelli

Competitive food show celebrating the families who make ordinary food extraordinary, presented by Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain. – IMDB

The Big Family Cooking Showdown has a decent setup. It shows off families going head to head against each other for the title of the best family chefs. They pick their own teams of three to work together and create these dishes. In the first few episodes, it is two teams and whoever wins will head into the semi-finals. They have three rounds for this cooking event which isn’t live and loses the cooking on the spot as the rounds to get them into the semi-final has been given to them in advance so that they can prepare carefully. It leaves a touch of spontaneity there even if we don’t know what they are doing. Suffice to say, it does show the viewers which team has better time management than others and how they deal in stress as things usually don’t work out the way they would in your own kitchen. The first part when two teams go against each other is in three parts with three challenges: the 10 pound challenge, Home Visits Challenge and Impress Your Neighbors Challenge. The semi-finals have the remaining teams groups in 3 teams against each other for three rounds also:  What’s in the Fridge, Perfect Puddings and Nation’s Favorite With a Twist. And then the final features a continuous making of a three course meal.

the big family cooking showdown

The setup of the competition is pretty nice. The families are slightly diverse with their cultures and heritage adding a nice touch to each of these plates. The teams work out really well against each other. The first part has a nice bit of giving them time to prepare in advance and it really is up to them to have structured a plan with the time constraints and factoring in any stress or changes. At the same time, it also poses that question of losing that spontaneity that teams put on the spot would have. However, the challenges in the first rounds are pretty neat as they focus on family issues starting off with how much food can you make with a constrained budget. The Home Visit gives us a nice snippet of seeing the family in their own environment which helps minimize the accidents that could happen while the final round is impress your neighbors so its making the foods that go above and beyond but dishes that they are proud of in a three course meal. The structure here works because of these themes being more family-oriented. The spontaneity factor is fixed in the semi-final when their first and second challenge are unknown. The first tests their ability to be flexible with what is available to them and the second being how good they can work together and follow instructions while delegating the tasks that each member is better at. While the show does have a lot of pre-preparation, the segments do feel very well-done to make sure that it highlights the team and gives them time to improve on their menus and skills.

the big family cooking showdown

The hosts of the show are Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain. They are quite enthusiastic and often joke about their love for eating but their lack of knowledge on actual cooking which brings out their friendliness to be there. Where they lack the knowledge, they can build with their balance to the show’s charisma as they communicate with the families and introduce the rules of each part. The judges for this show are Giorgio Locatelli and Rosemary Schrager, who I’ve never heard of before. However, they obviously do have their knowledge of food and cooking which is undeniable. One thing that does fall apart is their criticism is slightly lacking in some parts where it becomes a little repetitive in the way they compliment or dislike certain foods. It is here that the show nearing the end seems to fall a little flat.

Overall, The Big Family Cooking Showdown is pretty enjoyable because the families’ diversity in their cooking and dishes mixed into their creativity. The hosts are very enjoyable to watch although the judges are qualified but lack the charisma in their criticism to make it seem more engaging.